It’s not unusual to spend a lot on self-care treatments such as mani-pedis, facials, or blowouts. It takes more than just a few appointments to keep your hair, skin and nails healthy. You can improve the appearance of your hair, skin, and nails with the right nutrition. And you may be able keep some of that money in your pocket. These 12 foods can be found at the supermarket.

flat lay photography of variety of fruits

Foods for hair and nails

Keratin is a protein that makes up both hair and nails. Both require similar nutrients to grow. This double-whammy of foods is the following.

Organic Chicken

Although your most basic meal may not be the most exciting for your taste buds, it can do wonders to your hair and nails. You can also find many other non-boring chicken recipes if you look hard enough. It is high in iron and protein. It has 7g of protein per ounce, which helps keratin in hairs and nails grow.

Both require iron-rich blood to continue their growth. Iron deficiency can lead to hair loss and other side effects. While meat is the best source, chicken provides a healthy amount.


What’s the best thing for your hair and nails if chicken? Easy. Half a block of tofu has almost the same protein as three ounces (22 grams) of chicken, and nearly one-third of your daily iron intake. It’s also cheaper and can take on any flavorings. Even if you’re not plant-based, adding tofu to your diet is a great way to get a little protein variety in your diet.


Okay, so maybe you don’t like the texture of tofu. Add some lentils to your plate for a more meaty plant-based protein snack. These legumes come next in the iron and protein category. This will give you about 22-ish grams of protein and one-third your daily iron intake in a half cup of uncooked lentils. They can also be used as a meat substitute in burgers, meatballs and Bolognese sauce.


We would be remiss if we didn’t mention the B-vitamin .biotin .as it pertains to hair and nails. Some research .indicates the biotin may contribute to the thickness of both. Biotin can be found in many foods making it difficult to find deficiencies. According to Nora Minno, a NYC-based registered dietitian, “egg yolks are rich in biotin and protein which have been proven to promote strong hair and nails.” We would like to have another frittata.


You should host a sushi night. Don’t forget the essential soybean appetizer. Edamame is not only rich in plant-based protein, but it also contains an amino acid called cysteine, which is the building block for keratin.

sushi on black ceramic plate


There are many reasons that adults should drink milk, including the fact that your bones can begin to decline in your 20s and that milk tastes so good with cereal. Milk also has 8 grams of protein per glass, and a lot of cysteine. Lactaid and  a2 milk may be a good alternative.

Great Foods for Great Skin

Your skin can be affected by sun damage, air pollution, stress and other factors. However, certain nutrients can help your skin fight back. There are many foods that can help keep your skin looking beautiful, as it is a very sensitive area.

Wheat Germ

A recent review suggests that vitamin E and C can protect the skin from UV damage. Two tablespoons of wheat germ can provide 15% of your daily vitamin E intake. This whole grain staple can be added to all kinds of foods, from oatmeal to breads to smoothies.

Sunflower butter

A tablespoon of sunflower seed butter provides 45 percent of the daily recommended intake of vitamin E. It’s also allergen-friendly.

Toby Amidor MS, RD and (full disclosure), nutrition partner at SunButter, says that antioxidant vitamin . can help protect cell membranes against free-radical damage, particularly those caused by UV rays. Amidor states that even though sunscreen protects from the sun’s harmful rays, vitamin E-rich foods such as sunflower butter can help to strengthen cells.

Green and Yellow Bell Peppers

Did you know that peppers contain more vitamin C than oranges? Amy Gorin, MS., RDN and owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition, says that green and yellow vegetables, such as bell peppers and onions, can be especially helpful in reducing the appearance of crow’s feet. Fajitas, anyone?


Minno states that one cup of pineapple contains 131 per cent of the daily recommended Vitamin C intake. She adds that Vitamin C has many important roles in skin health. It aids in the production and repair of collagen and reduces the damage caused by UV rays to the skin. Bonus: Pineapple contains bromelain, an enzyme that can help reduce swelling and inflammation.

sliced pineapple on white ceramic plate

Brazil Nuts

Minno states that Brazil nuts are one the richest sources of  selenium. This not only protects skin from UV-induced damage, but also promotes healthy nails and hair.

Fatty Fish

Research pointing to the benefits of eating fatty fish keeps piling up. Omega-3 fatty acids are not only good for the heart and brain, but may also play a role in preventing non-melanoma skin carcinomas. Add salmon, tuna or mackerel as a meal to get your daily intake of omega-3s. Avoid farm-raised products.

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